How to create a custom image with multiple editions
It is possible to merge multiple editions into one ISO, making it simpler to deploy different scenarios for each machine type.
Choosing one edition for each instead of having separate USB sticks or ISOs.
You can see editions on almost any Windows image, those in a form of Home, Pro, Enterprise and similar.
NTLite supports this, basically you can Export each edition to another image (WIM file) from the Source page, make your own editions, rename them.
Here are instructions how to do so:
– choose the base image, you can also update it with latest updates as well, do nothing else to it, not even update cleanup.
– after it’s done, make sure it’s not loaded, icon should be gray
– right-click and Export – WIM it to some file
For example “D:\CustomImages\FirstCustomImage.wim”
Only don’t put it inside any ISO structure just yet, keep this in a folder as your editing ground.
Export as many as you need, from any base image, be it updated or not, different or same, just each differently named, make sure it’s from the ISO that you will return this back into because the boot image (boot.wim) needs to be compatible.
– Add the exported images to the Source page if they were not listed already.
Right-click the desired edition, Edit to change its name to something specific like “Windows Pro for Admins”, so you don’t lose track which is which, especially when they are merged back into a single image.
– when editing each of those exported images/editions, make sure those images are detected as Status: “Isolated” on the Source page.
And if also editing on them the Unattended settings, make sure to enable the option “Copy to Install image” in the toolbar; that way automation settings are per image, not on the root for all the same, like in the default Windows setup.
On how to edit each image and what else can NTLite do, check the Support page.
Keep note about presets as well, rename each autosaved session to the corresponding image for future use.
– when you’re done with configuring each isolated image to your liking, make sure none is loaded.
Then Export them back into any ISO structure, the exact file location is relative in the target extracted ISO file structure .\Sources\Install.wim
When asked Overwrite or Append, choose No (Append).
Review the current status of images on the Source page, should be obvious how the images are stacking up inside the destination one.
You can right-click Delete any unwanted editions on the resulting image as well, especially unedited ones.
– Make sure there are no files: .\autounattend.xml and .\Sources\ei.cfg in the resulting ISO file structure, those can automatically pre-select default image and skip the prompt.
– Create ISO by right-clicking the final image folder and choosing so.
Test the ISO in a virtual machine, potentially start with just two lightly but obviously different images, to see if the method works as expected before investing time into the final product.
– From this point on, you can choose to keep the original isolated images for future editing, or delete them and edit directly on the resulting merged image.
Just note to backup that complex final image from time to time if choosing to continue editing on it directly, as mistakes can happen and you want to have an easy redo at hand.
Also if editing multi-edition image, after bigger file changes, it is recommended to rewrite it.
Right-click on the WIM itself, Convert – Recompress before making the final ISO.
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.